Friday, April 09, 2021

The End of the Official Castro Era--The 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party Announcement and Theme (The Party is the Soul of the Revolution)



This post begins is the first of a short series considering the 8th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista Cubano). This Congress is particularly interesting, and potentially important, as a result of the convergence of several factors.

1. Raul Castro appears ready to retire from his role in the all important post of first secretary of the PPC. "Raúl Castro is to stand down as the party’s first secretary, the true source of power on the island, and armed forces commander after serving two five-year terms. He succeeded his brother Fidel, who handed power to him several years before his death in 2016." (Exit of Cuba’s last Castro brings curtain down on revolutionary era). That is a momentous event--from the perspective of history (people love to mark historical events, it is perhaps the way that societies tell time). But is is also important from the perspective of politics as a relatively untested and unknown generation will be given freer (but not free rein) to move the state apparatus forward under considerably stressful times.

2. This marks the first Congress immediately after the roll out of what might be potentially the most significant set of changes to the economic model of the state. The changes include grudging liberalization of the conditions for non state economic activity, a more robust engagement with the contemporary flows of global trade, and the unification of Cuba's currency. That it was done as a technocratic rather than an ideological exercise is also significant. That produces a tension that the 8th Congress may seek to resolve--the development of some sort fo ideologically sound imprimatur, grounded in traditional Cuban Caribbean Marxist ideology--to support the profound changes.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a series of challenges and opportunities that the Cuban state has sought to exploit (in the one case) and overcome (in the other). This is the moment for the triumph of Cuban medical diplomacy now augmented by a strong tech sector. The success of its COVID-19 vaccine, if handled correctly, will produce a substantial amount of political capital abroad that Cuba might be able to exploit, even if Cuban authorities receive very little by way of financial compensation for the effort. One might expect this sector of the 2030 Economic Plan to be an important element of the pageantry if not the work of the Congress. 

4. This set of political and economic changes are occurring at a time of social unrest. While Cuba had been relatively successful in managing its intellectuals since 1961, that efficient management (as brutal as it was some time to time) appears to be breaking down. The Movimiento San Isidro, a collection of artists and others that have captured the imagination of the liberal democratic camp and its intellectuals) is likely the tip of the iceberg. And yet the traditional mechanisms of suppression are likely to be less available than they were. The PCC's ability to meet this challenge in ways that preserve stability will be among the first real tests of the new leadership. Indeed, the incoming leadership's pointed reference to Fidel Castro's 1961 speech and the construction of a propaganda campaign around it suggests the nature of the battles that lie ahead (Cuba President Recalls Fidel Castro’s Historic Speech to Intellectuals :That speech became the founding platform of cultural policy of the Cuban Revolution). An English translation of that speech, well worth reading for its overtones to much of the global conversation about speech today, may be accessed HERE.

5. The theme of the VIII Congress suggests its discursive challenges. "El Partido es el alma de la Revolución"--The Party is the Soul of the Revolution--is a semiotic meadow (perhaps a minefield as well. There is a sense built into the proceedings of both promise and danger. Like elites in the rest of the world, it has become clear that a control of the way in which the masses are led to the understanding of the world is essential for the project of both managing mass behavior and of directing it toward preferred objectives. Guiding ideology remains a powerful weapon and its contestation around the world has posed problems for vanguards from the United States and China to those of Cuba. Each, of course, utilizes quite distinct tools for the construction and maintenance, and for the naturalization of its guiding ideology within their respective political cultures. But especially in periods of transition, control of the guiding ideology (its construction, elaboration, contestation, rejection or replacement) is the key to power among those who seek to assert it, guide it or use it. Here there are two great objects at stake. The first is control of the meaning of the term "Revolution" which had been carefully curated since the 1959 establishment of the current political-economic model. The second is the legitimacy of the naturalization of the product of that control deeply within the way that the masses approach and understand the world. The "soul of the revolution" then suggests both a normative perspective and the legitimization of the mechanics of its development and deliverance. All o this may be up for grabs now.

6. The United States continues to dominate this Congress as it has virtually every other one. It is a pity but hardly to be avoided that even as the PCC declares its autonomy, it does so only by reference to and in the shadow of the United States. That has proven to be in some respects its greatest protection. But increasingly it may become the greatest weakness of this Party and its ideological apparatus. A state cannot control its people on the basis of negatives (e.g., we are not the United States). That effectively gives the other party control over your own destiny, a result that is becoming increasingly apparent int he case of Cuba. Cuba can no longer afford to build its ideologies as a function of its contests with the US). This is a lesson that is hardly ever learned, certainly it remains unlearned in politics that sees in the construction of difference (internally or externally) a quick, dirty, and expedient way to elaborate administrative power in the hands of a controlling group--whatever their political inclinations).  Intellectuals, especially, are good are seeking to deride the construction of otherness in power relations but then use it precisely to rearrange the allocation of power among the categories of otherness constructed. A great pity but perhaps the fate of society as currently understood by those with the power to control. 
7. For all that, the United States does remain a wild card.  The Biden administraiton does not yet appear to have developed anything like a robust coherence to policy going forward--it is still working against the shadow of the Trump Administraiton. This also poses dangers and opportunities for the Cubans. This is especially so now in connection with relations to Iran.
8. Yet the VIII Congress does little by way of confronting the real threat to Leninist parties: exclusivity that ultimately provides the greatest contradiction between Marxism and Leninism. The establishment of a communist society (whatever its conceptual gymnastics about the ownership and allocation of capital and the role of planning or markets) ultimately requires that the vanguard and the masses become indistinguishable.  That is the success of the establishment of a communist society requires that everyone be a member of the vanguard.  But the vanguard as a Leninist revolutionary party  (and then a party in power)  is grounded in the notion that the masses are not ready, and later that external threats require a Leninist organization to serve as a techno-bureaucratic force to lead the masses toward whatever is defined as victory in any particular era of historical development. But a Leninist party that fails to expand and to embrace an ever growing  number of mass elements runs the risk that it will become corrupted.  So corrupted it runs the danger of becoming a ruling clique mired in either left or right error.  The failures of the PCC to more actively address this issue of working style may in the end pose the greatest threat to its long term survival.

These are the themes that the the object, in the usual discursive tropes of the PCC, that are meant to give meaning to the words elaborated by the Central Committee pf the PCC in its Announcement of the Holding of the VIII Congress (Convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba), the text of which in the original Spanish and with my own crude translation, follows below. 


The Congress that embodies the historical continuity of the Cuban Revolution

These are the words spoken by the Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura, at the meeting to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the 60th anniversary of the System of Schools of the Party, when presenting the call to the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. Havana, December 2, 2020

Comrade Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic and member of the Political Bureau Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, member of the Political Bureau, who participated in the assailant to the Moncada barracks and was a member of the expeditionary from Granma


We are attending this meeting today called for by two events that are an expression of the indissoluble relationship between the Revolution, the people and its vanguard: the 64th anniversary of our fierce Revolutionary Armed Forces and the 60th anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces Schools of the Party, whose founding nucleus were the Schools of Revolutionary Instruction.

As we have appreciated, the audiovisual material presented shows us the process of emergence and development of these centers and especially the heartfelt and eloquent words of the comrade Rosario (Rector of this High Level Party School (Escuela Superior del Partido), who is honored to bear the name of Ñico López), allow us to confirm in a concise synthesis how this school system has been growing and strengthening in the fulfillment of its strategic missions: the strengthening and defense of the revolutionary ideology and the important contribution made to the preparation of the cadres, our militancy and revolutionaries in general.

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party took into account this glorious date of the Homeland for from this stage to make public the Convocation to the VIII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, to which and as a conclusion of this honorable commemoration, I will read below: After the decision to hold the VIII Party Congress was made public in April 2021, an extraordinary event crucially marked the life of the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic put the capacity and will of the Revolution to the test, and the mettle of our people to face any difficulty, no matter how complex it may be.

Once again, the truth about Cuba, its values, its proven vocation for humanity, solidarity and social justice were shown to the world, which, together with the country's organizational capacity and the scientific development achieved, has allowed us to translate into visible results. the commitment to the life and well-being of our compatriots and other peoples, despite the constant aggressiveness of the United States Government.

Capitalism and its neoliberal defenders show they have no solution to the cardinal problems of humanity. His theories of the minimal role of the state and the magnification of the market only reinforced his inability to save lives. Cubans today immersed in overcoming the dissimilar obstacles derived from the pandemic, in particular those linked to our economy, added to others that had already gravitated over us, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba ratifies with this call the decision to develop the VIII Congress on the scheduled date.

The Congress will focus its attention on the evaluation and projection of core issues for the present and future of the nation, which will include updating the Conceptualization of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development, the results achieved and updating of the implementation of the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, as well as the economic-social results obtained from the VII Congress to date; In the same way, it will analyze the functioning of the Party, its connection with the masses, its ideological activity and will assess the situation presented by the cadre politics in the Party, the Union of Young Communists, the mass organizations and the Government.

I t will be an opportune setting for updating our resistance and development strategy. It will mean a stimulus to the participation of militants, revolutionaries and patriots in the solutions that are demanded to face the acute world crisis that impacts us and to continue the transformations that strengthen the national economy. To achieve this we have a vast experience of struggle in the construction of socialism as the only development option, and with the imperishable example of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. Worthy heir to the trust placed by the people in their leader, our Party, unique, Marti, Fidelista, Marxist and Leninist, assumes a high responsibility in the preservation of unity, a strategic factor for victory.

During that time, the United States Government has accentuated its hostility against Cuba, intensifying the genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade, and political-ideological subversion. Added to this are the consequences of the global economic crisis. Faced with these difficulties, the people have responded with firmness, discipline and conscience, which requires further translation into contributions of efficiency and superior results in the economy. This implies new ways of thinking and doing to achieve prosperity, the result of our daily work.

In this scenario, the implementation of the Guidelines of the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution faces broad challenges.

Objective and subjective problems are faced that influence the rate of application of approved policies and measures. The current situation cannot become a justification that delays the processes; on the contrary, it imposes the need to give an impetus to updating our economic and social model in order to comply with what we have agreed upon and eliminate the obstacles that still persist in the development of the productive forces and efficiency, a matter defined as a problem Strategic Principal by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz.

It is urgent to increase food production in the country, using all internal reserves, which includes, as in the rest of the sectors of the economy and society, research, innovation and technological development, in addition to the systematization of the results .

The links between the state and non-state sectors of the economy must continue to develop, as part of the defined economic strategy. The national industry will have to respond more and more to the internal demand. It is essential to banish inertia, apathy and creatively exploit all existing potentialities, stimulating the contribution of all the people, their ideas and initiatives. We must advance in the efficiency of production processes and the quality of services, as well as in the saving resources, increasing exports, import substitution and the participation of foreign direct investment.

In this endeavor, the socialist state enterprise is called upon to fulfill its main role in the national economy.

Our objective is to arrive at the VIII Congress with precise and concrete definitions that strengthen and give continuity to the government program undertaken, in compliance with the Economic-Social Strategy to boost the economy and face the global crisis caused by the Co-vid-19.

The constant prevention and confrontation with corruption, crime, social indiscipline and other negative manifestations incompatible with the essences of socialism that we are building, should be a task for everyone.

To achieve this and other objectives, we must continue to strengthen the functioning of the Party from the core to the highest levels, based on the exemplary nature of those who are active in its ranks. At the same time, it is essential to have cadres that maintain a revolutionary attitude towards problems at all times, develop the capacity for analysis in the search for solutions, stimulate frank dialogue and are characterized by impeccable ethics in their daily actions. .

The Party will maintain a priority attention to the Union of Young Communists, its cadres, militants and the new generations, in whose formation and education in values ​​it has a special responsibility. Likewise, it will support the mass and social organizations, in their missions to integrate, mobilize and represent our people, fostering a superior participation of their members in the political and socio-economic processes that decide our future as a nation. Today political-ideological work acquires greater importance to confront the attempts of capitalist and neoliberal restoration. Social networks and the internet have become a permanent stage of ideological confrontation, where our arguments must also prevail against enemy campaigns.

Faced with the cultural and symbol war that is being waged on us, the defense of national identity and culture, as well as the knowledge of our history, reaffirm our sovereignty and independence. US imperialism has not been able to fulfill its objective of destroying the Cuban Revolution. It insists on provoking instability in the country, legitimizing the mercenary opposition and fracturing the unity of Cubans, turned into an insurmountable fence to guarantee freedom, justice and socialist democracy that are not negotiated. We ratify once again the strategic importance of maintaining the defense and national security of the country as a matter of the highest priority.


On the 64th Anniversary of the Landing of Granma, a date that transcends by showing us the value of sacrifice, confidence in the triumph of the ideas that the people make their own and the will to win, we ratify that this will be the Congress of continuity, expressed in the gradual and orderly transition of the country's main responsibilities to the new generations, with the certainty that the Revolution is not limited to those who led it to triumph that glorious January 1st, but to the will and commitment of those who have made it their own in all these years and those who will continue the work.

The VIII Party Congress, which we will hold from April 16 to 19, 2021, will be held by all the people. As in Girón, 60 years later, in the face of the empire that will never be able to bend us, and in the face of present and future difficulties, however powerful they may be, we will once again proclaim to the world our irreducible conviction of Victoria.

Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba



El Congreso de la continuidad histórica de la Revolución Cubana

Palabras del Segundo Secretario del Comité Central del Partido, José Ramón Machado Ventura, en el encuentro para conmemorar el aniversario 64 de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias y el 60 del Sistema de Escuelas del Partido, al presentar la convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba. La Habana, 2 de diciembre de 2020.

Compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Presidente de la República y miembro del Buró Político. Compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Presidente de la República y miembro del Buró Político. Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, miembro del Buró Político, asaltante al cuartel Moncada y expedicionario del Granma.

Compañeros y compañeras: Asistimos hoy a este encuentro convocados por dos acontecimientos que son expresión de la relación indisoluble entre la Revolución, el pueblo y su vanguardia: el aniversario 64 de nuestras aguerridas Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias y el aniversario 60 del Sistema de Escuelas del Partido, cuyo núcleo fundacional fueron las Escuelas de Instrucción Revolucionaria.

Como hemos apreciado, el material audiovisual presentado nos muestra el proceso de surgimiento y desarrollo de estos centros y especialmente las sentidas y elocuentes palabras de la compañera Ro-sario (Rectora de esta Escuela Superior del Partido, que se honra con llevar el nombre de Ñico López), nos permiten constatar en apretada síntesis cómo ha venido creciendo y fortaleciéndose este sistema de escuelas en el cumplimiento de sus misiones estratégicas: el fortalecimiento y defensa de la ideología revolucionaria y la importante contribución brindada a la preparación de los cuadros, nuestra militancia y los revolucionarios en general.

El Buró Político del Comité Central del Partido tuvo en cuenta esta fecha gloriosa de la Patria para desde este escenario hacer pública la Convocatoria al VIII Congreso del Partido Comunista de Cuba, a la cual y como conclusión de esta honrosa conmemoración, daré lectura a continuación: Después de hacerse pública la decisión de efectuar el VIII Congreso del Partido en abril de 2021, un evento extraordinario marcó de forma crucial la vida de la nación. La pandemia de la COVID-19 puso a prueba la capacidad y la voluntad de la Revolución, y el temple de nuestro pueblo para enfrentar cualquier dificultad, por compleja que esta sea.

Una vez más se mostró ante el mundo la verdad de Cuba, sus valores, su probada vocación humanista, solidaria y de justicia social que, junto a la capacidad organizativa del país y el desarrollo científico alcanzado, nos ha permitido traducir en resultados visibles el compromiso con la vida y el bienestar de nuestros compatriotas y de otros pueblos, a pesar de la constante agresividad del Gobierno de Estados Unidos.

El capitalismo y sus defensores neoliberales de- muestran no tener solución alguna ante problemas cardinales de la humanidad. Sus teorías del papel mínimo del Estado y la magnificación del mercado, solo reforzaron su incapacidad para salvar vidas.

Inmersos hoy los cubanos en la superación de los disímiles obstáculos derivados de la pandemia, en particular los vinculados a nuestra economía, sumados a otros que ya venían gravitando sobre nosotros, el Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba ratifica con esta convocatoria la decisión de desarrollar el VIII Congreso en la fecha prevista.

El Congreso centrará su atención en la evaluación y proyección de asuntos medulares para el presente y futuro de la nación, lo cual incluirá la actualización de la Conceptualización del Modelo Económico y Social Cubano de Desarrollo Socialista, los resultados alcanzados y la actualización de la implementación de los Lineamientos de la Política Económica y Social del Partido y la Revolución, así como los resultados económico-sociales obtenidos del VII Congreso a la fecha; analizará de igual forma el funcionamiento del Partido, su vinculación con las masas, la actividad ideológica y valorará la situación que presenta la política de cuadros en el Partido, la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, las organizaciones de masas y el Gobierno.

Será un escenario oportuno para la actualización de nuestra estrategia de resistencia y desarrollo. Significará un estímulo a la participación de militantes, revolucionarios y patriotas en las soluciones que se demandan para enfrentar la aguda crisis mundial que nos impacta y continuar las transformaciones que fortalezcan la economía nacional. Para lograrlo contamos con una vasta experiencia de lucha en la construcción del socialismo como única opción de desarrollo, y con el ejemplo imperecedero del Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. Digno heredero de la confianza depositada por el pueblo en su líder, nuestro Partido, único, martiano, fidelista, marxista y leninista, asume una alta responsabilidad en la preservación de la unidad, factor estratégico para la victoria.

En estos años el Gobierno de Estados Unidos ha acentuado su hostilidad contra Cuba, arreciando el genocida bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero, y la subversión político-ideológica. A ello se suman las consecuencias de la crisis económica mundial. Frente a estas dificultades, el pueblo ha respondido con firmeza, disciplina y conciencia, lo cual requiere traducirse aún más en aportes de eficiencia y superiores resultados en la economía. Ello implica nuevas formas de pensar y hacer para alcanzar la prosperidad, fruto de nuestro trabajo diario.

En este escenario, la implementación de los Lineamientos de la Política Económica y Social del Parti-do y la Revolución enfrenta amplios desafíos.

Se afrontan problemas objetivos y subjetivos que influyen en el ritmo de aplicación de las políticas y medidas aprobadas. La situación actual no puede convertirse en justificante que retarde los procesos; por el contra- rio, impone la necesidad de dar un impulso a la actualización de nuestro modelo económico y social para cumplir lo que hemos acordado y eliminar las trabas que aún persisten en el desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas y la eficiencia, asunto definido como problema estratégico principal por el General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz.

Urge incrementar la producción de alimentos en el país, empleando todas las reservas internas, que incluye, como en el resto de los sectores de la economía y la sociedad, la investigación, la innovación y el desarrollo tecnológico, además de la sistematización de los resultados.

Los vínculos entre el sector estatal y el no estatal de la economía han de seguir desarrollándose, como parte de la estrategia económica definida. La industria nacional deberá responder cada vez más a la demanda interna. Es imprescindible desterrar la inercia, la apatía y explotar con creatividad todas las potencialidades existentes, estimulando el aporte de todo el pueblo, sus ideas e iniciativas. Debemos avanzar en la eficiencia de los procesos productivos y la calidad de los servicios, así como en el ahorro de los recursos, el incremento de las exportaciones, la sustitución de importaciones y la participación de la inversión extranjera directa.

En ese empeño, la empresa estatal socialista está llamada a cumplir el papel principal que le corresponde en la economía nacional.

Nuestro objetivo es llegar al VIII Congreso con definiciones precisas y concretas, que fortalezcan y den continuidad al programa de gobierno emprendido, en cumplimiento de la Estrategia Económico-Social para el impulso de la economía y el enfrentamiento a la crisis mundial provocada por la Co-vid-19.

La prevención y enfrentamiento constantes a la corrupción, el delito, las indisciplinas sociales y otras manifestaciones negativas incompatibles con las esencias del socialismo que construimos, deberá ser una tarea de todos.

Para alcanzar este y otros objetivos, debemos continuar fortaleciendo el funcionamiento del Partido desde el núcleo hasta las instancias superiores, a partir de la ejemplaridad de quienes militan en sus filas. A la par, resulta imprescindible contar con cuadros que mantengan en todo momento una actitud revolucionaria frente a los problemas, desarrollen la capacidad de análisis en la búsqueda de soluciones, estimulen el diálogo franco y se caractericen por una ética intachable en su actuación cotidiana.

El Partido mantendrá una prioritaria atención a la Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas, sus cuadros, militantes y las nuevas generaciones, en cuya formación y educación en valores tiene una responsabilidad especial. Igualmente, apoyará a las organizaciones de masas y sociales, en sus misiones de integrar, movilizar y representar a nuestro pueblo, propiciando una participación superior de sus miembros en los procesos políticos y socio-económicos que deciden nuestro futuro como nación. Hoy adquiere mayor importancia el trabajo político-ideológico para enfrentar los intentos de restauración capitalista y neoliberal. Las redes sociales e internet se han convertido en un escenario permanente de confrontación ideológica, donde también deben prevalecer nuestros argumentos frente a las campañas enemigas.

Ante la guerra cultural y de símbolos que se nos hace, la defensa de la identidad nacional, y la cultura, así como el conocimiento de nuestra historia, reafirman nuestra soberanía e independencia. El imperialismo estadounidense no ha podido cumplir su objetivo de destruir la Revolución Cubana. Insiste en provocar la inestabilidad en el país, legitimar la oposición mercenaria y fracturar la unidad de los cubanos, convertida en valladar infranqueable para garantizar la libertad, la justicia y la democracia socialista que no se negocian. Ratificamos una vez más la importancia estratégica de mantener la defensa y seguridad nacional del país como asunto de máxima prioridad.


En el 64 Aniversario del Desembarco del Granma, fecha que trasciende por mostrarnos el valor del sacrificio, la confianza en el triunfo de las ideas que hace suyas el pueblo y la voluntad de vencer, ratificamos que este será el Congreso de la continuidad, expresado en el tránsito paulatino y ordenado de las principales responsabilidades del país a las nuevas generaciones, con la certeza de que la Revolución no se circunscribe a quienes la llevaron al triunfo aquel glorioso Primero de Enero, sino a la voluntad y el compromiso de quienes la han hecho suya en todos estos años y los que continuarán la obra.

El VIII Congreso del Partido, que realizaremos del 16 al 19 de abril de 2021, será de todo el pueblo. Como en Girón, 60 años después, frente al imperio que nunca logrará doblegarnos, y ante dificulta-des presentes y futuras por poderosas que sean, una vez más proclamaremos ante el mundo nuestra convicción irreductible de Victoria.

Comité Central del Partido Comunista de Cuba.

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